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Tryst, Chapter One: Deals


Mr. Prettyman had left her. Like her eldest son, Pokey; and her husband, Aloysius. Even Picky had been apprehended, and placed in the care of the Lees.
Lardna had fought that decision up to the Eagleland Supreme Court, but Judge B.H. Pirkle, recently given his judgeship held the decision, claiming that a single woman of her age, and no job would be incapable of raising a child.
And when she had contested that decision, claiming that Mrs. Lee couldn't raise three children, Pirkle again held up the decision, pointing to the fact the eldest, Ness, was of the age he could get a job, and his bank account contained tens of thousands of dollars.
She had even promised to get a job... but no! Pirkle threw that out of court too, saying it could be dangerous if Picky needed medical attention.
Her house had deteriorated since then. It was a pigsty, more so than Pokey could ever have been.
A mysterious voice wafted in.
"Lardna..." it whispered.
Lardna's ears perked up. "What?"
"Lardna...
"Lardna...
"Lardna..."
"What?" Lardna cried. "What do you want?"
"My name is Giygas..." the voice whispered. "I will enter in a Tryst with you, if you can get revenge on Ness Lee."
Lardna spat. The simple mention of that boy's name was enough to disgust her.
"What do you want? Nothing is too precious to sacrifice in a Tryst."

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, birds were chirping happily, and flitting from tree to tree. Ness sat out in the front lawn playing catch with King, while Tracy and Picky were sitting in the grass, trading Pokémon.
"Do you have a Kabuto, Tracy?"
"Yeah, but you're only getting it if you have an Omanyte!"
"C'mon King, I'll give you a pop fly this time!"
<As long as that doesn't mean I have to run...>
Suddenly, a voice cut through the chatter. "Kids, it's lunchtime! Come on in and have some sandwiches!"

Soon they were all in the kitchen, munching on sandwiches, and talking to each other about life, cows, and Pokémon.
"Ness... come here a moment, please!" called Mrs. Lee.
Ness immediately got up from the table, and ran over to her. "What's up?"
A special report banner ran across the bottom of the 'Fourside News 24-hour News Report' reading "Fourside under seige! Mystery person destroys Monotoli Building!"
"Ness... they have a picture of the mystery person blowing up the Monotoli Building. I froze it in a freeze frame..." She brought it up on the TV. "Look familiar?"
Ness raised both eyebrows, and stared hard at the picture, then drew back. "No WAY... Mrs. Minch!?"

Ness looked on in utter shock. "How could she?"
Ness' mom looked back at him, a tear in her eye. "Well... losing a son is always hard... especially after losing one before that to evil power..."

Ness grabbed his hat, and ran out into the late spring daylight. He shielded his eyes as the birght light struck him head on. "I have to see inside the Minch house!" he said, running through the fresh grass. His boots made soft imprints as he charted a course to the old Minch place. When he reached the doorstep, he slowly creaked open the rusty knob.
"Hello?"
Silence...

On an astral plane, far above the reaches of Eagleland, a solitary soul sat on a cloud, looking into a minature computer.
"Blast! This isn't the right dimension for me at all!" She swore under her breath as she tapped in commands. A few years stuck in an astral plane had given her the time to become a rather good programmer.
"Oh well... what's going on in the world?" she said as she scanned her computer. "Hrm. Fourside's aura seems a little down, I'll try and track it from up here."

Rusty and Paula were walking from the Polestar Pre-school on their way to the Lees' house. Rusty, a large, burly man with bushy, black hair and a bushy, black beard, worked at the Pre-school with Paula and assisted her with the children, a very good friend. Being a former sailor, Rusty wasn't the best speaker.
"Ya ready to visit yer ole pal Ness, Missy?" asked Rusty.
"You know I am," said Paula with a smile.
Rusty and Paula had no idea what they were in for. They would be a big part of this whole affair. Unfortunately, they had no clue they would help the world and its future.

On a corner in Fourside, a band was playing. The style of music was the same as the corner: grungy.
"We got no time, no time at all!" BWAR, BWAR, BWARRRR!!!
This was the demented noise made by the group known as Lower Scum. They had been together for 6 months, during which time they had used the same corner every day.
A passerby dropped a quarter into a hat. The bass player knelt down and took the hat in his hand. He shook it around, listening to the sweet jingle of fresh change.
Of all the group members, only Jakob the bassist knew what life could really be like on the top. The drummer and the guitarist/singer would be happy just to own an apartment; Jakob once owned a decent house in Threed. He had seen the country, from Summers to Onett. Once, he was a mighty accountant for a television station, but now he was reduced to playing for coins on a corner. He sighed and returned to playing.
Across the street, the Monotoli building loomed. It was excellent inspiration for songs, with all the bureaucrats and lawyers running around with their briefcases and their solitaire tournaments. Aloysius Minch of all people had chewed them out as a blemish on the city, right there on the sidewalk. They wrote a song about the encounter named "We Don't Need your Pity, Your Money is Fine." The entirety of the lyrics were contained in the title.
Jakob was about to launch into his signature wild solo, when an explosion rocked the block. Jakob glared at the drummer, then realized his bandmates were mysteriously dead. Nobody could survive being hit with such huge pieces of concrete.
Grabbing his hat and stuffing the change in his pocket, Jakob ran away from the Monotoli building, which was coming down in bigger and bigger pieces. He stared with horror at an especially large block, which landed on a woman coming out the front door. His horror turned to shock when he saw the woman break the brick in half.
"She used some kinda blast or power or something..." Jakob watched on as the crazed woman began to bring down the building with continued power blasts.
Inside of his heart, Jakob realized that it would be the end of civilization if that woman wasn't stopped. He did the only thing he could think of; he ran to a phone and dialed the Action News.
"There's this crazy lady mashin' the Monotoli pad!"
Suddenly, he was cut off. The "crazy lady" had dropped a rock on the phone line.
That's it, thought Jakob. No more Mr. Nice Bass Man! He charged full steam at the woman, whoever it was, planning to pound her face in.
What he didn't know was that she was Lardna Minch, ex-wife of the now dead Aloysius Minch, and that she had as little respect for street people as her late husband did.
She grinned at him with her wide, toothy smile. "You simple urchin! Remove yourself from my path or the powers of evil will crush you!" As she spoke, her voices dropped several ocatves, making her last few words sound almost inhuman to the average passerby. It was at that point where Jakob learned the true meaning of fear. The strange woman started to hurl bricks at him, as he scrambled throughout the cracked streets.
Jakob found himself being thrown across the road, like an old hacky-sack. He watched as Lardna went into the Shopping Mall. He continued watching as SWAT teams assembled themselves. Without knowing why, he ran to the bus stop. Some hidden impulse was telling him to catch a bus to somewhere. Maybe it was his accountant past, analyzing the situation for him. He didn't care. He just caught the bus.

"Give me what I want, old man." Lardna was holding a pistol to the head of the manager of the Fourside Department Store.
"I-I-I-I don't k-k-know what you're talking ab-b-b-bout," the manager replied, scared stupid.
"Give me the piece of the Dept. Store Mook. NOW," Lardna said in a commanding tone of voice. "If you don't, I may... hurt you severely. You saw what I did to the Monotoli Building."
"It's... in the safe under my chair. It was a souvenir from the past! Please, just take it and l-l-l-leave me alone!" the manager replied.
"What's the combination?!"
"1-2-3-4-5." Lardna stopped.
"...What kind of a moron makes his combination 1-2-3-4-5?"
"Hey, it was easy to remember, okay? Now take it and leave!!!"

Meanwhile, outside of the department store...
"Alright, squads 1 through 4, move in and neutralize the target!" This was what the chief of the SWAT team told to his inserted teams. The teamse responded and went after Lardna. It took them about 23 seconds to get to where she was. About 10 seconds later, squad leaders all started to report that their teams were totally annihilated.
"This is horrible, " the commander stated to nobody in particular. A nearby reporter heard this and started to ask questions. The report was broadcast live over Fourside news.

At Ness's house...
"That's right, the woman destroyed all of the SWAT teams. The squad leaders say that she didn't even do anything, but rather, an invisible force..." the TV reported.
"Invisible force?!" Ness cried. "That sounds awfully evil, like... I don't know."
Then there was a knock at the door.

Far from Fourside, a strange man in a purple suit reclined in his old chair. The foam had slowly seperated itself from the bindings, and was now seepings its way toward the ground. However, it didn't matter to him as he snapped on the tv, and grabbed a can of root beer.
As he flipped endlessly though the channels, he fell upon one news story that caught his eye. "Fourside destroyed.. she looks like Lardna! I hope Ness knows about this!"
As he ran out the door, he paused slightly. He reached over to his mantle, and took off his old combat knife. He slid it into his boot as he ran out the door.
Frank Fly was no child; he was ready for a long haul.

On the plane far away, the girl continued to monitor every move made in Fourside. As she clicked away, her screen slowly began to fade.
"Drats! The UniCom always fails on me at the most innopportune times! I need something stronger.. something that can get me back to my mission!" It was then a plan developed in her mind. She immediately set to work on designing her new power gauntlet.

Anthadd looked at the medallion on the lab table. One night, his Dragon Armor Medallion, Draco Potion, and Hope Items had disappeared.
He had been worried, since his island was quite remote, and suspected the existence of a second person on it.
He looked closer, focused on the runes. "Ke Bao..."
But he never got a chance to try reading the runes further.
The computerised television system switched on! Anthadd twirled around, wondering why it would do that.
"Geldegarde Monotoli here, for Enrich Flavor TV, a subsidiary of the Enrich Flavor Corporation," the reporter said.
"Monotoli?" Anthadd wondered. He was surprised to see the former mayor of Fourside.
"Reporting from the site of the newest disaster in Eagleland, the Fourside Department Store."
Anthadd had read about that store a while ago. It was known for blackouts.
"Today, a crazed woman, who had earlier attacked the Monotoli Building, attacked SWAT teams sent into the department store to subdue her. No member of the teams made it out alive. According to the man who first encountered her there, she was said to be fat, and angry.
"She mentioned something about a Tryst."
Anthadd turned off the TV, and went back to deciphering the runes. "Ke Bao medallion... infuse the armour of Ke Bao's dragon within you."

Jakob got off the bus in Twoson. When he had passed his old house in Threed, he suddenly got a headache. It was getting worse by the minute. He walked down the street, and passed by the Chaos Theatre. Seeing it reminded him of his band, Lower Scum. Thanks to the crazy lady, he thought, we'll never play on that corner again. He continued to walk, past the department store, and through the tunnel to Onett.
As he headed north, his headache began to throb wildly. Through a haze of pain, Jakob worked his way up the hill. He saw a house. He knocked on the door. A boy answered it.
Jakob stammered, "Can I trouble you for an aspirin?" before collapsing to the ground.

Jakob looked up. He was in a small hospital room, strapped to a bunk. Memories came flooding to him in bits and pieces, of the room, the doctors... something being done to his mind, a terrible secret he had to hide. Someone stuck a needle in his arm... lightning crashed, and Jakob saw the room melt away.

He opened his eyes sleepily. He was in a house, lying on the couch.
Jakob told himself that it was just a nightmare, until he almost believed it. Then he drifted back to sleep.

Mike was standing just outside the gates of the Summers' Naval Shipyard. "Ah man, look at those aircraft carriers. They're so cool. I wish that I were in command of one. In a few years, maybe." Mike walked off into Summers. "This place is the perfect place to make a port call. So many shops, a beach, other stuff..." He continued walking for a while, until he passed in front of Billy Bob's Discount TV and VCR shop.
"Heh, look at the TVs. I should go home and play some video games or something. Wait, what's on TV right now?!" Mike asked just as he was pressing his face to the store window.
"She mentioned something about a Tryst..." the TV reported. "We need to reassess the situation." It was the reporter quoting the SWAT team commander.
"Aiyaiyai, that doesn't seem too good. Lardna? That name sounds vaguely familiar... anyhow, I'm going home. It shouldn't take me but a few hours to get to Fourside. Maybe I'll get there and be part of the action. That would be interesting." He walked to the North, following the directions of a sign pointing towards Fourside.
"Beautiful day for a walk. Yessir." A bird started flying right next to him. "... Crazy birds."

Frank started walking up the Dewey hill to the Lee household. The knife in his boot clacked obtrusively against his heel as he moved, but after several minutes he had grown to ignore it.
"Just like my days in the Sharks," he thought, "and I hope I don't have to use this.."

Upon reaching the top of the hill, he paused briefly once more. He looked over at the old Minch house, and he scratched his chin as he saw the blue tin door swinging off of its hinges.
"Something's up," he whispered as he ran inside of the house. Upon entering, he immediately began to cough. "Ugh! There's a pipe leak in here! I'd better move quickly!" He grabbed his coat up around his chin, and breathed slowly and calmly as he walked further into the home. On the kitchen table, he spied a small piece of fabric. Upon close inspection, a note had been scrawled in scarlet lipstick. He smeared his finger across the top as he scanned it with his eyes:

Note on the table
NESS:
Hello, Lee boy. I hope you know that I, Lardna, will have my revenge, (Frank noticed a damp spot, similar to a tear stain right next to the sentence), and no expense will be too great for your demise to be met. See you in.....
Frank stopped reading, and he smeared out the last word with his finger. "Awful language... she should never talk that way to children." He picked up the note, and ran out of the house.

"Aha! The gauntlet is almost finished!" she cried as she added the core. "I hope this works.." She stated as she picked up a small microchip. Depositing the chip into the side of her new weapon, she smiled as she snapped it on her wrist. With a satisfying click, it locked comfortably around her left forearm.
"Now all I need to is find someone with enough energy to blast me out of this place--" She stopped suddenly as a message scrolled across the miniature monitor.
<Take the energy from the boy Mike. Once you return to the mortal plane, return it to him. He will take you from there.>
She stared at the golden gauntlet, shocked. Grabbing her staff, she punched in the coordinates for Mike's location.

As Mike was walking along, a tree rustled overhead.
"Muh? Another bunch of crazy birds, probably," he said, chuckling to himself. "But... birds don't usually rustle the branches that much..."
"BOO!" yelled a voice at the top of her lungs.
"AGH!" Mike gasped, falling over backwards onto the ground. He glanced up, and immediately recognized the grinning girl as his next-door neighbor. "Luna? What the heck are you doing here?"
"Followed ya!" The blond-haired girl grinned, hanging upside down from a large, sturdy branch. "I was bored... and I wanted to see if you'd notice me following you!"
"Heh heh."
"I saw the news, and I bet you're going to Fourside!" Luna said, flipping down safely from her branch. "That's where I'm going!"
"Yup, that's the place..." Suddenly, Mike collapsed in front of her.
"Mike!? Hold on, I'll save you!" Luna yelled, pulling several things out of her backpack in a hurry.
A figure, blurry at first, then more defined started to appear beside Mike's form.
"What the heck!?" she gasped, pulling out a homemade blastergun from her backpack and aiming it shakingly at the figure. "Who.. WHAT are you!?"
"I'll gladly tell you... If you would kindly aim that gun at someplace other than my head!" said the figure humorously, which was quickly becoming more visible by the second.

"I'm the astrally impaired Senshi Unity. Now if you please, step aside so I can GET BACK TO THE RIGHT PLANE!" Luna dropped the gun with a clatter, and Unity aimed her gauntlet at Mike. He began to scream as his energy funneled out of him to Unity, and every second she became brighter and brighter.
"That's not nice! Why shouldn't I shoot you right now?"
"Because I'd block it," she said matter of factly. Her long gold hair had finally become solid, and she was twirling it around her finger while she spoke. Suddenly, Mike dropped to the ground, unconscious. "All done!" She grinned, then went to shake Luna's hand.
"Ugh! Get away from me and revive Mike!" she yelled, disgusted. Unity looked back and forth between Mike and Luna, and shrugged.
As she did, she received a message.
<You're just like you used to be, aren't you? Revive the boy, and pay close attention to the girl. You can play later.>
Unity shook her head, confused. "Alright, I'll revive ..Mike, is his name?"
"Yes," Luna said impatiently. "Now do it!"
Unity looked around the block, then secretly typed in a few words. A burst of white energy came out of her gauntlet, and it landed on Mike.
"Wakey Wakey!"
Mike rubbed his eyes with his hands. "Who... are you? Your name... sounds familiar.."
"Well, it wouldn't be."

And as all of this was happening, a 16 year old by the name of Dan Morton played K.C. Munchkin on the Odyssey^2. Unfortunately, his O^2 wasn't exactly in the best shape. It started clicking. Slowly at first, eventually gaining in speed until the picture fizzled away and smoke poured out of the air vents of the venerable machine.
"ARGH!" he yelled angrily. "On my high score, too!" After a bit of static, the Public-Access station that broadcast on channel 4 appeared. The Local Anchorman was panicking.
"Yet another building in Fourside has fallen to a woman known only as Lardna."
Dan double-taked. He looked out the window, and sure enough, the Fourside Department Store was crumbling.
A single word shot around Dan's mind. "Giygas," it proclaimed in a whispered, yet disturbing voice. Wasn't that who his friend Ness had helped defeat 3 years ago? He grabbed his Zapper, Power Glove and Game Genie. He couldn't let this adventure pass him by.

As Frank ran, he realized the clank that had been present at his approach to Ness' house was now absent. "Dangit!" he cursed. "The knife must've fallen from my boot. Guess I'd better go back and find it..." He retraced his steps, scanning the ground for his knife. Oddly, he could not find his knife anywhere on the path he had taken. He decided that the best thing to do for now was to go to the Lee household as originally planned. He took the short walk over to the house. As he entered the door of the Lee house, he was surprised to hear the phone ringing. Since there was no one else around to answer, he picked up the reciever and put it to his ear. He was greeted by static.
"He—hello?" he queried of the caller.
"...Ness?...not Ness...you?...where...ss?"
"Where's Ness?" Frank tried to confirm. "I don't know, he's not here. Who is this?" He noticed that the static began to fade. Though there was still interference, the person on the other end was now completely intelligible.
"Ah, good, I'm coming into range now," said the caller. "I'm Amzan Righferrie. Who is this?"
"Amzan?" asked Frank. "I think I've heard Ness mention you. You're the space-cat, right? This is Frank Fly."
"Right," chuckled Amzan. "How is it that you're in the house and Ness isn't?"
"Not entirely sure of that, either," said Frank. "The place is blown out. The door's off its hinges."
"Maybe something to do with the goings-on in Fourside?" queried Amzan.
"Ah, you've seen the news reports?" asked Frank. "Yes, I'm sure it's related." Frank espied his knife on the table, and walked over to pick it up. Now how'd it get here...
"Well," considered Amzan, "since Ness is not to be found, meet me outside, I'll be landing shortly. You should be able to see me about now."
"Alright," said Frank, slipping the switchblade back into his boot, "I'll see you out there." He hung up. Walking outside, he looked up to see a glint of light on the horizon. As it got bigger, it began to slow, coming to a stop about ten meters from where he stood. A hatch on the schooner opened up. He walked in, the hatch closing behind him.

Mike got to his feet quickly. "Well, it does sound familiar, okay? Maybe I went insane or something and I am now remembering a lot of nothing." Mike blinked a few times before continuing. "Anyhow, where'd you come from, and how'd you do what you did?"
"That, my friend, is none of your business," Unity replied. "Anyhow, where are you headed?"
"I was going to Fourside to check out what's going on there. It seems interesting, and heck, I may be on TV." Mike grinned. "Anyhow, this is great because I have somebody to accompany me there."
"Excellent. I'm going to follow you." Unity started to punch some things into her gauntlet.
"... What are you doing?" Mike asked.
"Oh. Nothing. Don't worry about it."
"I see... you're awfully secretive, aren't you? Anyhow, let's go. We're not that far from where we're going."
"How do you know that?" Unity asked.
"Smell the air. It reeks of the city. It's a nice smell, I guess, but it could probably kill you," Mike replied plainly. Luna giggled.
Unity smelled the air, then chuckled to herself. "I guess that you're right. I haven't smelled that smell in a while."
"Right. Anyway, let's go." The group continued to walk to Fourside. On the way, they passed a body of water. This prompted Mike to say something.
"Hey Luna, this body of water seems familiar. Do you remember coming here?"
"No. I don't think so. Why?" Luna replied with a question of her own.
"Oh. I could have sworn that we've been there before... no matter." Unity entered something else into her gauntlet. She then muttered something to herself.

They continued to walk for a bit, at least until Fourside came into view.
"Ahah! Here we are, my friends. Are you ready?" Mike asked, rhetorically.
As Unity passed the water while she walked, another note came in: <Shine your laser on the water.>
Unity raised her eyebrows. "Uhm, ok.." When Luna and Mike had their backs turned, she pressed the light beam button on her gauntlet. When it hit the water, she could see almost to the bottom.
Looking closely, she could almost see some sort of structure. "Interesting to put a building in an underwater gulf..." she thought. "Oh well! Let's go!"
She ran ahead to catch up with Luna and Mike. She didn't notice it, but across her gauntlet went one last message: <They have no idea.>

Mike pushed through the rubble near the bakery, then screamed. "LOOK! A TV CREW! I'M GONNA BE ON TV!"
He ran through, and slammed into the camera man. Unfortunately, he wasn't judging the force of his blow, so he ended up knocking him over.
"Hey, watch what you're doing, ya dumb kid!"
Mike glared at him. "I am NOT a dumb kid! And neither are my friends!" he said. He pointed at Luna and Unity. Unity was currently rifling through her pockets for one of her dolls, and Luna was getting a marker out of her purse and writing something down.
"Well... nevermind."

Daniel sneakily slipped out of the window. Finally, he actually did a sneaky thing correctly, although the 3 story fall DID sting. Dusting himself off, he walked directly towards the department store.
"You can't go through here! We at the Onett PD were specially deployed to place these road blocks," one of the officers guarding the remains said angrily.
Dan sighed, muttered "Hypnosis", and snapped his fingers, dropping both of the guards temporarily.

The mall's interior was unrecognizable. The signs were charred, if still there, sparks of fire still popped out of the walls. Some of the dead SWAT members were still inside. Something drew him upstairs, so he climbed up the cables still in the elevator shaft in a rush of adrenaline. Whatever it was seemed to pull him into one of the small rooms by the west wall. Warily he drew his Zapper, and stepped inside. He was greeted by a simple phrase. "Hello. I am Lardna Minch!" she said in a voice that almost didn't seem her own. "I have no time to deal with you. Luckily, he does..." She trailed off with an evil laugh, and disappeared. In her place, a large, fiery dog stood.
After having the warning shots fired from his Zapper simply reflected, he did the first thing that came to mind. Typing madly on his Game Genie, he came up with an amplified voice code. And with that, he screamed "HELP!!" loud enough for anyone within 500 yards to hear...

Back at the Lees' house, Frank was outside talking to Amzan. Frank thought he had heard noises in the house, but he paid no attention to them. Suddenly, he heard a familiar voice and turned around. Paula was standing at the front door with a large man. "Frank! Do you know where Ness is?" asked Paula.
"No. I saw Mrs. Minch destroying things on the TV and I thought I'd better see if Ness knew anything. When I got here, his whole family was nowhere to be found," explained Frank.
"Interesting.......Mrs. Minch was that ol' mum of Pokey. Right?" said Rusty trying to make sense.
"Yes. She must've gone mad or maybe Giygas has something to do with this. Who are you anyways?" asked Amzan.
"The name's Rusty Racinette. I work with Paula here an' I'm always ready for an adventure! Ya mind introducin' yourselves?"
"You might know me as Frank Fly, leader of the infamous sharks. I helped Ness way back when he was tryin' to defeat Giygas for the first time. I work at the Onett burger shop now."
"My name's Amzan Righferrie. Frank knows me as the"space cat". Heh. I could tell you my life story, but that'd take a while. What're we waiting for? Let's get a move on! For all we know, Ness could be in trouble."
"Right!" everyone agreed.

"Is this the proper activation for the medallion?" Anthadd wondered out loud.
After messing with the wording for some time, he had finally come up with what he thought was a feasible activation code.
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Infuse!"
The medallion... broke apart?
"This is not good."
He bent down, fully intending to pick up the remains of the medallion, but suddenly the shards began to glow.
First the wings of the medallion, flew up, and alit on his back. Then the claws of the medallion, placing themselves on his hands and feet.
All the while, Anthadd had been shocked.
And this scared him further: the items had grown. And they appeared to be melting and expanding at the same time, the living liquid oozing over his body.
The body of the medallion! Forming into body armour! Covering his torso!
Anthadd's fears accelerated! Is this medallion taking me over?
Finally, the head of the dragon depicted behind the medallion... changed into a helmet?
Anthadd picked up the helmet. A piece of paper fluttered out. He caught the paper before it fell to the ground.
It had one word on it: "Defuse".
"Uh... Ke Bao Dragon Armour Defuse?"
Suddenly, the armour returned to medallion state!
"It worked!" Anthadd cried.

Quickly getting a Magic Packet, which held anything and weighed nothing, he stuffed the Tome of Sugemo in it, then put the Packet in his lab coat.
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Infuse!
"This feels like it embodies the Hope Items, Draco Potion, and Dragon Armour..."
Considering that, Anthadd focused.
The golden armour of the Ke Bao Dragon Armour turned into the... golden scales of Anthdragn...?
"Uh... weren't my ssscalesss originally red?"
Well, maybe it has to do with the Ke Bao Dragon Armour... Anthdragn thought.
And he flew off to Fourside, knowing that would be the best place to investigate this.

"Anyhow, I'm sorry, man. I didn't mean to run into you. All I wanted to do was to be on TV," Mike explained to the cameraman.
"Go away, kid. You bother me." That was the cameraman's response.
"Yeah, wel-" before Mike could finish, he heard something that sounded like somebody yelling for help. "Uhh... Luna, did you hear that?"
"If you're referring to somebody yelling for help, no," Luna responded. "Okay, okay, fine, I did hear that. Who do you think it is?"
"I'm not sure. Maybe we should go check it out. It sounded like it came from the department store. But look at it over there! Cops crawling all over the place. I don't know how we'd get in to investigate."
"You want to investigate?" Luna asked. "Cool, me too."
"We could always distract the cops. Use some diversionary tactics and whatnot." Unity was assessing the situation.
"Right. I've already got a plan. Here's what we do..." Mike began explaining things. "I'll run over there and say that there's something wrong with a baby cow or something. Everybody likes baby cows, so they'll run over and check it out. In the meantime, you two hide behind the cop car right there," Mike pointed to a cop car near the entrance, "and then we'll all go in together. Okay? Okay." Mike walked off while Luna and Unity got into position.
"Hey, Mr. Cop guy, a baby cow is sick over there on the other side of the street."
The cop blinked a couple times, then talked into his radio. "Hey guys, we got us a sick baby cow across the street. Let's check it out."
Another cop responded, "Yeah, let's go. This is getting kinda boring, anyway. What's going to happen while we check it out? It's not like a bunch of kids are going to run into the mall." The cops ran across the street and began looking for a sick cow.
"Hee hee, I was only kidding. There, it's not so bad because I admitted that to anybody who would listen." Luna and Unity were waiting at the entrance to the department store. "Alright, let's check this out." They began wandering around the store aimlessly.

Anthdragn landed just outside Dusty Dunes, near the tunnel to Fourside, but before the bridge.
He focused, and returned to human form.
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Defuse!"
The Armour returned to Medallion state.
Anthadd looked at his trusty Ditel, which had not been used for some time.
"Boy, this brings back memories."
He tried operating it.
Nothing happened.

Meanwhile, in Anthadd Labs, the computer system registered mysterious electromagnetic pulses. They began in Fourside, and emanated towards Onett.
The program Anthadd had written forwarded it to his wrist computer, which conveniently was sent into Null, the anti-space, whenever necessary.

The message from the system arrived to Anthadd's wrist computer.
"Electromagnetic pulses?" he queried out loud. "That must be what's messing with the Ditel."
And he began to walk to Fourside, suspecting the bus might not be in service, due to the state of emergency.

Jakob woke up again, much better rested than he had ever felt since he had started living on the street. He heard voices outside, and went to investigate.
Outside, he saw a group of people talking together. A young lady in a pink dress noticed him with a start. She gasped "Who are you?" while the others turned and looked at Jakob.
"Uh... hi. My name's Jakob. I had a headache, and I collapsed outside this house. Um... who are you guys?"
Paula, Frank, Amzan, and Rusty introduced themselves. Frank asked Jakob how he had gotten into the house.
"The kid who I saw must've taken me inside..."
"What kid, Ness? He's not here now. Do you know where he went?"
"I haven't got a clue," admitted Jakob. "It was a pretty bad headache, plus I think the crazy lady in Fourside might've hit me pretty hard, and..."
"Crazy lady?!" interrupted Frank. "You mean Lardna Minch?"
"Uh, if she was busting down the Monotoli place, I guess so..."
"Yeah, definitely her." Frank turned back to the group. "We have to get to Fourside."
"And find Ness," added Paula. She turned to Jakob. "Are you coming?"
Rusty raised his eyebrows. "Wait a second... before you join us, I wanna know what you can do."
Jakob was confused. "What do you mean, what can I do?"
"Yeah. Like, any super powers, PSI, anything like that?"
Jakob creased his forehead. "Well... I can play bass, and I can do accounting... what?"
Everyone was staring at him.
"Well," Frank finally sighed, "I suppose if we come across any rogue unbalanced ledger sheets, you'll come in handy..."

As Unity, Mike, and Luna walked through the Department Store, Mike stared at Unity for a second.
"I hate to break it to you, but the thing on your arm isn't considered a gauntlet. It's an arm bracer. Gauntlets go around the fingers. Yours just snaps around your forearm."
Unity's eyes widened. "But gauntlet sounds pretty!"
Luna nodded thoughtfully. "Well, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
"So, I can call it hippo?"
Luna sweatdropped. "That's not what I meant at all..."
As Luna rolled her eyes, Mike looked at the bracer. "Hey... Unity? Something is coming in..."
She moved her arm for the two others to see, and looked as an image came on the screen. It was a silhouette of a tall, dark haired woman with something in her arm that looked like a bow. <Greetings, Unity. You cannot respond to me, as I have no bracer myself. But I bring you an urgent message. It seems that my telecommunications are being read as to control you with the forces of Diu Ero...>
"Dia whatta?" Unity said, befuddled.
Even if she couldn't hear Unity, the woman could definitely notice her confused expression. She stopped, and as Luna stared she could tell the woman had said too much.
<Well...for some reason, people think that you are being controlled by an opposite force of evil. Let them think that.>
The image snapped off, and Unity nodded her head slowly. Suddenly she leapt into the air.
"Hey! This place has dolls, right, Luna?"
Luna chuckled slyly, and nodded.
"Yay!"

As Paula, Jakob, Rusty, Frank and Amzan passed the library, a thought occured to one.
"Hey!" exclaimed Amzan. "Why are we walking? Head back up the hill, we can fly to Fourside in my ship." The others looked at each other, their faces expressing feelings of idiocy.
Entering the schooner, Amzan began climbing a ladder. "Follow the hall," he said, "you'll find seating down there." He reached the top of the ladder, saying, "Computer: set course for Fourside."
"Course set for Fourside."
The other four found their seats, and strapped themselves in for take-off. Glancing around the cabin, they began chatting.
"Where," asked Frank, "d'you suppose Lardna got all that power?"
"Only one place I know of," replied Paula. "I just thought we'd defeated him."
"Dang," commented Jakob, who had inadvertently caused a holographic blueprint of the schooner to be projected from the table they were seated around. "This ship's pretty decked out. Is this just a lowrider ship, or is there some point to it?" The others looked at him quizically.
"You..." inquired Rusty, "know about spaceships?" Jakob turned red.
"I, uh," he stuttered, "I used to read comic books when I was a kid. I guess that stuff just sticks with you."
"Well," Paula began explaining, "he's a blockade runner for the resistance against Emperor Keshawarz. I wonder what happened to him...?"
"We will arrive in Fourside in approximately two minutes."
"Wow," muttered Rusty. "Short flight."

Anthadd had just started walking over the bridge.
"OK... this is getting annoying. Another two, three hours... maybe I'll get to Fourside."

Quickly ducking into the tunnel, and making sure no one noticed him....
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Infuse!"
Anthadd then focused, and turned into Anthdragn.

He tentatively exited the tunnel, went into the middle of the road, spread his wings, then flew to Fourside, fully intending to investigate the department store, where the first incident he'd heard of had occurred.

Dan continued to fight off Carbon Dog, ducking puffs of fire. However, fire sort of does this thing we call BURNING when it touches the remains of wooden walls. The ball of flames slowly grew until one of the remaining supports gave way. Dan tumbled through the floor, landing right next to Unity, Luna, and Mike.

"What the?" Mike yelled, startled.
"...Hi!" he muttered, laughing uncomfortably. "Just decided to drop in."
In an effort to look away from the blank stares he recieved, he stared straight up. Bad move. Because about to hop down was Carbon Dog. Too startled to speak, he just pointed straight up. The upper floor nearly demolished, the fiery being jumped down...

Before anything could happen, Mike decided to stop the impending attack.
"STOP!!!!" Everybody froze, including Carbon Dog. "Alright doggy, we all know you could fry us into little crispy critters, alright? So, instead of doing something as boring as that, how about you fight ME AND LUNA. Bwahaha. Me 'n' Luna versus you!!!"
Carbon Dog stood there with a blank look on his face.
"Hehehe! We could take him." That was Luna's response.
"Right," Mike replied calmly. "Let's do this." Mike pulled an iron bar from the destroyed wall. Luna pulled out her gun. Carbon Dog was obviously confused. Mike then proceeded to pull a match from his pocket.
"Hee hee hee. Crazy burning dog thingy, I'm going to BURN you," Mike laughed. He then nodded, and Luna shot the ceiling sprinklers. Mike climbed up the wall using a convenient ladder and put a lit match to the ceiling sprinklers. They all came on and doused Carbon Dog.
"Mwahaha." Carbon Dog then disappeared.
After Carbon Dog disappeared, Mike asked to the group, "Hang on, wasn't something else supposed to happen?" Unity shrugged. The group waited a few minutes before saying anything else.
"So... you almost got a bit hot under the collar." Mike chuckled at his own joke. Luna hit her head in reply. "Heh heh, sorry. Anyhow, What's your name? I'm Mike, that's Luna, and she's Unity. We wanted to be on TV, but the cameraman was too mean."
"I'm Dan."
"I see..."
"I came here through as soon as I saw the news report on TV. I wanted to check this place out as well."
"Oh. Okay. So..." Mike began, then trailed off. "Uhh, what now?"
"Let's continue on and check out what's going on further ahead. That oughta be fun!" Luna ran ahead, and Mike and Unity followed. She then added, "Come on Dan, let's go." He followed at a brisk pace.